THINK Contributor

Hiring the right marketing talent for new markets

By , February 20, 2017

This is Part 1 of our series on global marketing.

Whether you’re a large global firm developing a team to enter a new geographic market or you’re a tech firm launching a product that will take you into a new sector, creating the right team is essential. While that’s true across company functions, having the right insights and experience in marketing can make the difference between a successful launch and a failed attempt at growth. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that companies are facing some of the tightest talent markets ever. So what does a successful talent strategy look like for your marketing department when you’re growing into new markets?

International and Local Talent: Balancing Company Vision and Market Knowledge

One area that companies need to consider from a geographic standpoint is the mix of global and local talent for each new market. Established company talent is a major part of a company’s culture, so hiring people who deeply understand your specific market and business is essential to building the right teams. How do successful companies strategize that? As Recruiting Daily reports, multinational teams contribute 51% of private-sector dollars and 32% of salaried positions – so it’s important to identify the top players in a market  – that is, those who align with your long-term plans. Companies need a talent strategy that hits three levels within marketing:

#1. Global talent: Your global talent typically consists of management-level individuals who’ve been with your company for some time. Gaining global experience – or translating their existing experience to new markets – brings the best of your company’s marketing processes and vision to your latest efforts. In return, marketing managers gain valuable international or multimarket experience, which can help grow their careers and position them for future growth. 

#2. Local management: Local management – or, in the case of new market segments, managers experienced in that industry – bring subject-matter knowledge to the team, which is essential to your success. Ultimately, these individuals have firsthand experience, which can help fine-tune your vision, attract top-tier tactical talent, and ensure that your strategy is localized and specific for the market you’re trying to reach. Ideally, local management talent can become enmeshed in your company and grow to reach senior leadership roles with the company over time.

#3. Tactical talent: Tactical talent is going to help execute your market campaigns, ensuring you’re using the right digital channels, localizing initiatives, and more. Be clear about the skills and expertise you need, and place a priority here on individuals who really understand operating in specific markets. Their ability to navigate the intricacies of the marketplace can make the difference between successful campaigns and painless execution – and a rough launch that positions your brand poorly in the market.

Does Your Marketing Talent Work Across All Markets?

Once you’ve established the three types of talent you need, it’s important to determine whether your marketing talent rubric works across all markets – or if you need to make your approach market-specific. Is a top marketing resource in the United States comparable in terms of skills and experience to someone in Kenya or India, for example? Would an advertising manager or marketing data analytics role have the same description for each market?

In a recent interview with Recruiter.com, one interviewee suggested that the answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. While a specific role might require specific skills and responsibilities, there are underlying soft skills and motivational traits that fit the profile of a great employee universally.

The interviewee noted, “Each market is unique, but things to look out for are: interests in mobility, career aspirations and the most effective ways to communicate.” Finding the right talent at all levels requires looking for a mix of marketing strategy, local market knowledge, and the ambition and skills that make people successful across geographic locations and roles.

Craft a Strategy to Look for Top Talent in Each Market

Recruiting talent across markets requires a strategy that is unrelenting on quality, but flexible enough to adapt to the realities of the market. Here are five tips to help you find the best marketing team – from San Francisco to Barcelona to Johannesburg:

#1. Develop a channel strategy: As the Harvard Business Review notes, in tight talent markets, it’s critical to have a company talent pipeline. Companies entering new markets are competing with established employers, their own competitors, entrepreneurial initiatives, and the government and NGO sector for top talent. Treat every new market you enter like a tight market, and do the sleuthing needed to determine how to connect with the best talent. From university alumni programs to professional associations, it’s important to understand which common threads bring the leading talent together.

#2. Rethink your advertising and outreach strategy: In certain markets, leveraging an employer-branded recruiting site may be enough to bring the top talent your way. However, every market is different. In some cases, social media and other forms of digital outreach may be your best way to attract the best talent. Other strategies include job fairs and even outdoor advertising on billboards. Find out how the leading companies in the existing market promote vacancies – don’t be afraid to experiment to stand out.

#3. Network your way to great talent: Often, companies decide to enter markets and quickly establish partnerships. For example, you may already have a branding or advertising partner, prospective customers, or regional advisers. Network your way to the top talent. Who are the most desirable individuals working in marketing today? Who is active on social media, or publishing marketing articles in this area? Personalized recommendations can not only point you in the right direction, but also set the foundation for fruitful conversations.

#4. Align your hiring objectives with your long-term growth and marketing goals: The skills needed for a successful launch are often different from those that sustain healthy brands in specific markets. Many companies will look at specific tasks related to the launch  – such as localization of key marketing materials – and determine what can be outsourced and what needs to be done in-house. An agency partner may be able to handle your translation needs. Your hiring priority should be someone who can understand your marketing vision and ensure it is translated into every aspect of your campaigns. Look for long-term fit in addition to specific skill sets.

#5. Strengthen your success with company-specific training: Help new hires in new markets feel like they’re part of the bigger team. Strengthen your success by investing in their training early on. Ensure that these new employees understand your company’s culture, strategic vision, and marketing goals. Empower them – then let them put their specific skills and local knowledge to work to help your company achieve its goals.

Hiring the right talent for market expansions can be tough. However, by treating each new hire in a newly targeted market as a strategic investment, it’s possible to attract top marketing talent at all levels of your organization. If you set up your team members for success, they’ll position you to grow as you expand your way into new geographic and market segments.


Liz Alton writes about digital marketing and her work has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, Inc, Harvard Business Review, and Entrepreneur. Her specialties include all things marketing, technology, B2B, big data/analytics, cloud, and mobility. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and an MBA from Western Governors University. She is currently pursuing a master’s in journalism from Harvard University. Liz is a paid contributor to THINK Marketing. 


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